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Jury finds Kim Potter guilty of manslaughter for mistaking gun for Taser

BRUCE BISPING ¥ bbisping@startribune.com Brooklyn Center, MN., Thursday, 5/31/2007.  Officer Kim Potter, part of the Brooklyn Center Police negotiation team.
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(MINNEAPOLIS) — (Update) A Minneapolis jury on Thursday convicted former police officer Kim Potter on all charges including manslaughter for accidentally fatally shooting motorist Daunte Wright this year — with a gun, not her Taser.

Potter, a former Brooklyn Center officer, was stoic as the Hennepin County jury found her guilty of first-degree manslaughter. The implication is that she improperly used “such force and violence that death of or great bodily harm to any person was reasonably foreseeable.”

She said she accidentally shot Wright by grabbing her Glock rather than her Taser in the heat of the moment.

Jurors also found Potter guilty of second-degree manslaughter, which required a finding of only “culpable negligence” that created “unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another.”

Potter, 49, who faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, is scheduled for sentencing Feb. 18.

Original story:

An outcome has been reached in the trial of Kim Potter, the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer who is charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.

A decision is expected to be read between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET.

Potter had pleaded not guilty.

The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years and a $30,000 fine, and for second-degree manslaughter, it’s 10 years and a $20,000 fine.

Potter, alongside other Brooklyn Center officers, pulled Wright over for expired registration tabs and an air freshener on the rearview mirror. When officers discovered he had an outstanding warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge, they tried to arrest him, according to police testimony at the trial.

He resisted and attempted to re-enter his vehicle when Potter shot him. He then drove away, crashing shortly after, police testified.

Potter’s defense team has maintained that Wright’s death was an accident throughout the trial. They said Potter mistakenly grabbed her gun instead of her stun gun, but that she was within her rights to use deadly force because Wright may have hurt another officer.

Prosecutors said the 26-year veteran and training officer should not have reached for her stun gun in the first place. They assert that she was reckless and negligent in her actions.

Potter testified in her own defense, sobbing on the witness stand as she recalled the events of the April 11 shooting.

“I’m sorry,” Potter said. “I didn’t want to hurt anybody.”

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